Eden Benchmarks

The East Cumbria Countryside Project was commissioned to create a series of ten site-specific, carved stone sculptures which also function as seats, situated on public paths along the length of the The River Eden from its source at Mallerstang to where it joins the sea at Rockcliffe, just north of Carlisle. The project involved ten different artists and was commissioned to mark the new Millennium.
 
There are 10 of them in all, each by a different sculptor, and selected in close consultation with local people. The River Eden provides a cohesive and spectacular context for the sculptures: collectively giving visual expression to local pride in the river and its surrounding landscape and individually fostering a profound sense of place at each location.
 
They’re also a lovely place just to sit and quietly reflect on the river, on art, on landscape – and life.
 

“Water Cut” by Mary Bourne. Photo by Andrew Leaney.
 
A sculpture by Mary Bourne from Cumbrian Salterwath limestone. Initially the two halves looked different as one had been exposed to weather for longer prior to carving. Now they have weathered down to match each other.
 
It is shaped rather like a tombstone riven from top to bottom by a serpentine space representing the river, and stands on Lady Anne’s Way, a public path along the eastern ridge of the Mallerstang Fells.
 
The sculpture can be seen on the skyline over a wide area and is visible from the Settle-Carlisle Railway Line between Garsdale and Kirkby Stephen along the Mallerstang valley.
 

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